Having read numerous business coaching and self-help books, I can’t help but feel that they are sometimes too complicated and abstract. I also feel that a lot of them set you up for a fall, with unrealistic expectations around what you have to change and implement. I have tried sleeping upside down, hanging from the ceiling. I tried chanting, telling myself I was amazing. I tried meditating (the guy’s voice on the app irritated me), and I tried abstaining from things I loved doing. There were some benefits, but ultimately I ended up feeling led on, when everything didn’t fall into place.
Then one day I was watching some videos on YouTube, when I found a 10 minute extract of an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, talking about how he became Mr Olympia seven times in a row, then the highest grossing actor in Hollywood, and then the Governator of California (as a non-American!). The clip (below) is complete with Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack from Inception, just to add to the motivation, and in it Arnie talks about the importance of having a goal, or vision. He talks about visualising, very clearly, where it is that you want to get to. He would have pictures all over his wall of heroes that he wanted emulate. He would also have daydreams of winning trophies and being successful in Hollywood.
“I can zero in on a vision of where I want to be in the future. I can see it so clearly in front of me, when I daydream, it’s almost a reality. Then I get this easy feeling, and I don’t have to be uptight to get there because I already feel like I’m there, that it’s just a matter of time.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
This made everything make sense to me. My business had been running for a while, but wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted it to be and I knew I was hugely ambitious and had a lot more to give. I sat down and thought, where do I really want to go? What does it look like? Can I visualise being there? I ended up having visions of my dream business, my dream colleagues and all of the great stuff that will go with it. If you know where you want to end up, then you can get there in a straight line, rather than randomly meandering around. You can then view each decision you make through the prism of that vision. You can ask yourself ‘does this new hire take us closer to our vision?’ or ‘does the 10th pint get me closer to my vision?’. For the last one, I guess it depends what your vision is.
One year on, the business culture has improved x100, we are moving offices, we have three open headcount and are patiently interviewing people who will help us build this thing. I have never been happier at work. I would say watching that clip has had as profound an effect on me as anything. I’ll let you have a watch:
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Neil Farrell, Managing Director